Moving A Household Of Reptiles? What Are Your Safest And Most Efficient Options?

Planning a long-distance move for a household that includes pets can sometimes be a challenge -- and when these pets are cold-blooded boa constrictors, bearded dragons, or tortoises, keeping their body temperatures level and ensuring steady access to fresh water can be especially taxing. Depending on the climate, time of year, and distance of your move, it may sometimes make more sense to ship your reptiles to your new home separately rather than packing them in the moving truck. Read on to learn more about the best ways to transport your cold-blooded pets during any time of year. 

What should you do to ensure your reptiles have access to water during your move?

Although most reptiles can easily go a few days or longer without food and not suffer any ill effects, it's important to ensure your reptiles always have access to fresh water -- even when moving or being shipped. The easiest way to provide your reptiles with water is to attach a water bottle to the side of the enclosure. Even forked-tongue reptiles like snakes and monitor lizards should be able to easily drink from this type of bottle, and its self-contained nature should prevent any spills that could chill your reptile and slow its metabolism. 

If you're transporting a boa constrictor or other snake, you'll want to refrain from feeding it for at least 3 days before your scheduled move. Because the moving process can be stressful for even the most placid snakes, feeding just before a move can increase the odds of regurgitation, which can sometimes cause choking. For smaller lizards that tend to eat more frequently, like anoles and bearded dragons, you can include a few crickets or meal worms in the enclosure during the packing process to give your lizard some entertainment and a food source during the move. 

What are the best ways to transport reptiles long distances in cold weather?

In most cases, you should be able to transport your reptiles in a moving truck during the winter -- even if outside temperatures are fairly low. By placing a low-heat heating pack in each reptile's enclosure, you'll be able to ensure temperature regulation for as long as 40 hours, giving you enough time to make even a full cross-country journey. You'll still want to ensure your reptile's moving enclosure is adequately insulated and protects your reptile from wind and outside air exposure. 

How can you best transport your reptiles in hot weather?

While many reptiles originate in desert regions and can become acclimated to high temperatures, shipping reptiles inside a moving truck during summer months can be risky. The temperature inside a vehicle can reach 140 degrees or higher during hot weather, and leaving your reptiles exposed to temperatures in this range for the duration of your move may cause dehydration or even death upon arrival. Although placing a cooling pack inside your reptile's shipping container can help keep these hot temperatures at bay, it may cause your reptile to become too chilly during evening hours or when your truck is parked in the shade. 

A better way to transport your reptiles in hot weather is to have them shipped directly to your new home by priority or overnight shipping. These shipping options will allow your pets to remain in a comfortable, climate-controlled environment during the entire trip and spend as little time in transit as possible. You'll want to make sure you have someone available at your new home to unpack your reptiles and set up their habitats (or fly out yourself to be ready for their arrival while the movers work on the rest of your belongings). When shipping your reptiles directly, you may even be able to purchase additional insurance that can help compensate you for any harm that could potentially befall your pet. 

For more tips and options, talk with local moving companies, such as United Moving and Storage.